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Quick Copyright Tips for Rapidly Shifting Your Course From In-person to Online 

There may be pedagogical and technical issues that make the shift from in-person to online teaching a challenge but for once, copyright is not a significant additional area of worry!

Overall points to keep in mind

  • Most of the intellectual property issues are the same in both contexts.
  • If it was okay to do in class, it is often okay to do online – especially when your online access is limited to the same enrolled students.
  • You can continue to use the TMU Fair Dealing Guidelines.

Quick Copyright and Digital Delivery Tips

  • Use university password-protected systems like D2L Brightspace to make material available to your students, and use Ryecast, D2L Brightspace or TMU’s Zoom to deliver lectures with copyrighted content.
  • You can post your in-class slides to D2L Brightspace. Slides provided by textbook publishers are almost always okay to use via their Terms of Use.
  • Course readings rules for print and online posting are similar. Either use the TMU Fair Dealing GuidelinesLibrary licenced content, or link out to Internet content.
  • Library E-Reserve can help you copyright check readings, create links to ebooks and journal articles and more.
  • Your Subject Librarian may be able to find alternative content, for example TMU Library has a large collection of online journals and many e-books that can support online learning. Your librarian can also help you find copyright free teaching materials like Open Educational Resources (OER).
  • Use phone apps like Genius Scan or Adobe Scan to easily scan print materials you want to post to D2L Brightspace within the limits allowed by the TMU Fair Dealing Guidelines. Make scanned PDF files more accessible for your students by using the TMU Library provided optical character recognition (OCR) online tool to convert “non-selectable” text files into more accessible versions.
  • A more tricky aspect of online sharing can be around sharing audiovisual material like films and audio files in a digital format. But remember you can still link to legally posted online content (from YouTube etc.). TMU Library also has licensed streaming video content. Copyright exception s. 30.01 can also apply, contact if you need help to implement this copyright exception as there are rules that need to be followed to use it. 

Consult the TMU Do-it-Yourself Copyright Checking Guide or email if you have other questions about copyright.

More Information

Please consult Rapidly Shifting Your Course from in-person to Online – Copyright Considerations Guide.


Some material from this resource is adapted to be Toronto Metropolitan University specific from material prepared by the Copyright Office, University of Minnesota document Copyright Services, Rapidly shifting your course from in-person to online.  Unless otherwise noted, all content on the Copyright Information section of this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License. We would like to acknowledge some contribution of adaptation language from University of Toronto Scholarly Communication and Copyright Office and the CARL Copyright Group.